Leadership (Abuja)

17 January 2013

Nigeria: Boyloaf, Ateke Tom Score Jonathan Low On Corruption

Two frontline ex-militant leaders, Mr. Ebikabowei Victor-Ben, popularly known as General Boyloaf, and the leader of the militant group known as Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV), Commander Ateke Tom, yesterday slammed the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan over its poor performance in the area of infrastructural development and the fight against corruption.

Also, a socio-cultural organisation, the Benin National Congress (BNC) yesterday scored the administration of former President Umaru Yar'Adua higher than that of Jonathan.

Boyloaf and Ateke Tom were among the top ranking ex-militant leaders that have shown much support for the President Jonathan administration and benefitted from the N5.6billion federal government contract for the monitoring of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region.

The ex-militant leaders, in a statement mailed to LEADERSHIP yesterday and signed by Ateke Tom and Boyloaf, described the noticeable failures of the Jonathan administration as a 'huge embarrassment' and a 'threat to their patience.'

They particularly frowned at some members of the president's cabinet, including the ministers of Niger Delta Affairs and Petroleum Resources, and the chairman of the Amnesty Implementation Committee, Kingsley Kuku.

According to them, though President Jonathan did well in establishing the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the sustenance of the amnesty deal by the federal government and the appointment of some natives of the region, if nothing is done to check the huge failure recorded in the Niger Delta ministry, the president will not have done enough to satisfy the people that voted him into power in the area.

The statement read in part: "With the recent happenings, we have come to the conclusion that the ministry that was set up to look into the issues of infrastructural development of the region has turned to a total, catastrophic failure and embarrassment to the government and people it was set up to look into their affairs.

"When the ministry was set up, we saw some level of seriousness on the part of government to address issues of our region, and we accepted and supported a native of the region. Little did we know that we were endangering our future and that of our next generation in the hands of an incompetent man.

"Those we supported are now leading the destruction of the region and are busy amassing wealth for their personal gains. There is evidence everywhere in the East-West road contract, shoreline protection contracts, empowerment and skill acquisition, design and development of coastal roads.

"Issues have been raised in many quarters and yet everybody folds their arms and watch for things to take the worst turn. Just a week ago, another petrol tanker fell because of the deep potholes and it roasted Nigerians to death. From statistics, the people that have died along the East west road are now ten times those that died during the Niger Delta struggle."

The ex-militant leaders further stated that instead of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to show the way in the area of transparent and accountable performance, it had failed and is "is now a theatre of monumental fraud where all manners of shady deals are orchestrated."

On the recent poor rating of the implementation of the Amnesty Deal of the federal government, the ex-militant leaders argued that though the recent claims of fraud against the amnesty committee was unfounded, they had observed that the programme had been politicised and sectionalised by the leadership of the amnesty programme, thereby negating the yearnings of the people of the region.

Yar'Adua's government better - Benin Congress

Meanwhile, the Benin National Congress (BNC) in a meeting yesterday called on the president to rewards her sons and daughters from Edo South who, they said, voted overwhelmingly for him just as it lamented that the people had been abandoned with no notable Benin son or daughter occupying any key position at the centre.

President of the Group, Comrade Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo, said: "Benin National Congress sincerely condemns the seeming blackout of Benins from the Jonathan's Presidency, and seizes this medium to canvass presidential reward for our people for their disposition to peace and hospitality.

It remarked that most ethnic groups in Nigeria attract national attention by violent actions and tendencies, but noted that the people of Edo South who chose the path of peace were yet to be rewarded with significant appointments.

"It is a well known fact that under President Musa Yar Adua's Presidency, which President Jonathan completed following Yar'Adua's demise, we had Gen. Godwin Abbe, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru, Dr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, Crown Prince Erediauwa, and Steve Oronsaye, amongst others, holding viable appointments, but currently, these people have been removed or eased out from public offices, and there is none in sight," it said.

According to the group, the former appointees used to be a source of pride to the people and made them feel a sense of belonging, saying it was because of their appointment that the people of the area voted overwhelming for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the presidential election.

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